Pick your own

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Black raspberries!

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Rows and rows of them!

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Aren’t they beautiful?

I was going to make something with them, but by the time I got home this evening, Frank had eaten half of the quart.

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I still have a couple cups of fresh red currants.

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All of the bushes and canes were surrounded in poison ivy.  We washed immediately after – but I’m still praying that none of us get it.

Does anyone have a recipe for red currants?  Fresh red currants?

I’d love to make something with them, but the internet recipes are rather sparse- and my recipe books all call for dried currants.

I was thinking of incorporating them into a simple syrup and then using them in cookies and drinks – frozen of refrigerated , they would keep for a good while.

But I’d rather follow a fantastic recipe for a time honored favorite or a new creation.- Anyone have such a thing they would like to share?

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They are lovely – I’m glad I picked them just to look at them!

But I’d like to eat them even more.

Bienenstich Coffee cake- recipe#2 Honey and Spice cake!

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I have gotten so many hits on my last beesting cake recipe.  But quite a few of them move on quickly so they are looking for something different than a yeast based recipe.  I found a recipe in Mennonite Girls Can Cook that I modified and made yesterday.  It is a really good coffee cake with NO sugar and a broiled topping.

Here’s the recipe-  both Jordan and I recommend it- and it has gotten even better the second day- I love it when food improves overnight!

Ingredients:
1/2 c soft butter
3/4 c honey
1 egg (optional)
2 c flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp soda
½ tsp ginger
½ tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
¼ tsp cloves
1 ½ cups applesauce
1 cup currants

Method:

  1. Cream butter and add honey gradually, then beat in the egg.
  2. Combine dry ingredients and add to first mixture alternately with applesauce.
  3. Stir in currants.
  4. Spread into 9X9 greased pan.
  5. Bake at 350F for about 45 min. Test with toothpick.
  6. Spread hot cake with broiled icing

Broiled Icing:

1/4 c soft butter
1/3 c liquid honey
1/4 tsp cinnamon
½ cup unsweetened coconut
½ cup chopped fresh walnuts

Method:

  1. Melt butter, add honey and cinnamon. Stir in coconut and walnuts.
  2. Spread on cake and put in oven on broil setting for about 2 minutes, until topping bubbles and browns lightly. (stay by the oven and watch)

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I put the cake pan into an iron skillet for the broiling time- it was easier to pull it out of the oven and it looked so good!

Summer on my mind

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Echinacea at Stan Hywet

It has arrived.

It has been hot.

The flowers and veggies (and weeds) and grass are all growing.

But I haven’t really acknowledged it until Saturday.

Summer! SUMMER!  SUMMER!!!

I’ve been somewhere else in my mind… and I’m just now getting into the framework of summertime. 

Iced tea on the porch with a plateful of sugar cookies on the table to munch.

Afternoons spent walking around the gardens- paying close attention to the floral and insect displays- looking at the standout blossoms and taking in the wide panorama of green.

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And watching the little ones splash in water.

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Summer is not just a season.  It is a viewpoint- a state of mind- a relaxing of boundaries- an enjoyment of the senses- in a sense- time out of time.

It takes me a while to reach it- this summer state of mind.  As a child, I was there pretty much all year long.  As a young adult it was not far from view, but now it is a journey.  And I don’t always recognize how far I am away until June is almost over.  Then suddenly, like an epiphany it comes to me.

Slow down- pay attention- savor these moments.

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Because now is the time to grow and ripen and be fruitful.

It’s SUMMER!!!

Psalm 8- a song for today!

Psalm 8
For the director of music.
A psalm of David.

1 O LORD, our Lord,
       how majestic is your name in all the earth!
       You have set your glory
       above the heavens.

2 From the lips of children and infants
       you have ordained praise
       because of your enemies,
       to silence the foe and the avenger.

3 When I consider your heavens,
       the work of your fingers,
       the moon and the stars,
       which you have set in place,

4 what is man that you are mindful of him,
       the son of man that you care for him?

5 You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
       and crowned him with glory and honor.

6 You made him ruler over the works of your hands;
       you put everything under his feet:

7 all flocks and herds,
       and the beasts of the field,

8 the birds of the air,
       and the fish of the sea,
       all that swim the paths of the seas.

9 O LORD, our Lord,
       how majestic is your name in all the earth!

I love this psalm.  It is filled with praise and love and the songs of joy from the lips of children. 

It helps us identify our place in the universe and speaks of God’s abiding love for us.

And it fills my heart with joy to read and sing it, today.

Oh LORD, our Lord,

   how majestic is your name in all the earth.”

today is Midsummer Day…

scan0018 Robin and I would plan a feast and invite friends to share.

One year we dressed in medieval costumes (with a Shakespearian flare)

ate chicken on trenchers of bread and drank mead.

We had a small talent show, and then went for a late night swim.

Several years ago, I organized a party and put up tents in my backyard- ostensibly as a graduation party for Jordan- but it was really for Midsummer.

This year, I made knotty rolls with anisette on top.

midsummer 001 midsummer 002 midsummer 003                Frank won’t let me have a bonfire.

My birthday is this weekend so I can’t REALLY have another party.

But – I love Midsummer Day or St. John’s Day.

I’m going to light a WHOLE lot of candles on the deck and pretend it is a bonfire.

This is what happens when your childhood companions die young.

You are left with desires for the past that others just don’t understand.

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Happy Midsummer Day- Past and Present from Puck, Ophelia, the Lady of the Manor and the crone.  

Thoughts before my 56th birthday…………….

Last week I had two phone conversations that made me think.

(Actually -MOST conversations make me think- at least a little! :) )

One was with the nurse from my diabetic management team.  They call every couple of months just to see if I am still here- ask me a bunch of questions that they want yes or no answers to, and generally waste my time.  But – they do get me free testing supplies and needles- so I put up with the inconvenience.  One question they ALWAYS ask is – am I depressed?  Has my depression caused me to miss out  on business or social activities?  Have I been diagnosed as in a state of depression?  I realize that there are three questions there, but they add up to one. 1+1+1=1  Am I depressed?

no.

well, maybe, since you keep asking.

Conversation #2 was with my brother. 

He is depressed.  Or as he describes it- down.

We talked- we laughed- we commiserated with each other’s troubles- and then he asked- ” Has your life turned out the way you thought it would?”

no.

or, maybe?

I’m not sure I thought that much about a finished life.  Like how it would turn out.  I just lived it, trying to do the best thing, attempting to follow God’s leading- looking for ways to do that which was right and good.  Loving, trusting, obeying, following, believing, teaching, upholding, giving, taking, reading….

I made a lot of mistakes.  I did a lot of things right. 

I didn’t have a master plan- I just did what came next to the best of my ability and understanding.

I’m not depressed.  I am pollyanna.

I think happy thoughts and search out joy filled moments. 

And I escape harsh reality in flights into literature.

And my life is,… well, my life is my life.

I’ve lived every moment of it- experienced joy and sorrow, success and failure, lost and found- it has added up to the grand total of me.

1+1+1+1+1=1 

My math skills are depressed.

From the feast to the faint-heart- Psalm 61

Psalm 61
For the director of music. With stringed instruments. Of David.

1 Hear my cry, O God;
       listen to my prayer.

2 From the ends of the earth I call to you,
       I call as my heart grows faint;
       lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

3 For you have been my refuge,
       a strong tower against the foe.

4 I long to dwell in your tent forever
       and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.
       Selah

5 For you have heard my vows, O God;
       you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name.

6 Increase the days of the king’s life,
       his years for many generations.

7 May he be enthroned in God’s presence forever;
       appoint your love and faithfulness to protect him.

8 Then will I ever sing praise to your name
       and fulfill my vows day after day.

I had the feast in the presence today.  I’d been planning it all last week- making up recipes when I couldn’t find one- tasting, testing and creating wonderful foods.

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I didn’t invite enemies.  I don’t know my enemies that well.  I don’t know my enemies at all, really.  So, I invited friends who were happy to come and eat and discuss and share in the meal.

But doesn’t David remind you of yourself?  I do this all the time- waiver between a place of confidence and faith and a heart that grows faint.  One moment I’m really trusting and secure and the next doubt sets in and suddenly the world is a fearful place.

And then I call out for assurance and prolonged protection.  Preserve me, Oh LORD!  And then I will sing praise to your name.

I am of the tribe of Wishy- Washies.

Chilled Cantaloupe Soup- a savory recipe

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All the recipes that I found on Google were very sweet and fruity.  I was a little discouraged – but then I decided to make up my own recipe.

So, I went over to Allyson’s today to get a couple of other opinions.

First, we  cut and pureed the melon in a food processor-

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then we put the larger pieces through a food mill.

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And then we added our ingredients into small ramekins so that we could pick our favorites.

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We mixed and tasted and added a little -then tasted- basically- we tasted a lot!

Our favorite- the best- is the following recipe.

Chilled melon soup with coconut milk, capers and dark cherry salsa in a cloud of Greek yogurt.

(Long title=good soup)

Ingredients-

Basically the title.

1 large cantaloupe melon- processed until smooth

1 can coconut milk- well shaken before opening

1/2 cup pomegranate juice- mainly for the color

1/2 tsp lemon juice

1/2 tsp salt

1 jar small capers

1 batch of dark cherry salsa

1 small carton of Greek yogurt

Mix the first 5 ingredients together.  Then, according to your taste add the capers by the teaspoon and mash them to release the flavor.  Keep tasting- I liked more of the caper zing than Ally, so I stopped at 4 tsps. and added extra to my bowl at the end as a garnish.

Chill for several hours.  Then serve in small bowls or ramekins and garnish with a teaspoon of Greek yogurt on soup’s surface and sprinkle a tablespoon of cherry salsa over the top.  Add capers if you like a little more sass and vinegar!

Aiden gave it his total approval.  He ate 3 ramekins and wanted more!

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The texture of the salsa took him a little longer to eat.  But he was one very happy little taste tester!

I love this soup for an appetizer or a light lunch on a hot summer day.

It has a lovely presentation, a light and cooling texture, and is flavorful and fruity and just downright delicious.

Try it- I think you’ll love it, too!

Tangy Ginger Dressing- recipe

I have tried commercial ginger dressings- and I dislike them intensely.

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And ginger dressing is so good when you get it at a Japanese shop- it must be freshly made.  Or at least that is my opinion.

I don’t know where I got this recipe or I would give credit for it.  But I’ve been making this for at least 20 years and I really can’t remember if this even is the original recipe or if I’ve changed it up over the years.

Try it- trust me- you will love it.  It keeps in the refrigerator for about 3 weeks- I guess- mine never lasts more than 2 weeks at the most.

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1/4 cup ginger root- peeled and sliced

1/4 cup chopped onion

1/4 cup chopped celery

1/4 cup water

3 TBS vinegar

3 TBS vegetable oil

2 TBS lemon zest

2 TBS tomato puree

1/2 tsp sugar

salt and pepper to taste

Combine in food processor for 3 minutes. 

This is a pungent dressing which you will use sparingly.

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Enjoy!

I tried to do an update on yesterday’s post- but I couldn’t put up the following picture of the cherry salsa.  It looks so good I couldn’t resist adding it to this post- just so you could see the end result!

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